Athletics: Ragin' Cajuns Broadcast Productions Enjoying First Season of Operation
Brand new operation brings video excellence to Louisiana Athletics
LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Athletics' expansion of its digital media efforts has been significant, with the newly minted broadcast productions department executing the Ragin' Cajuns partnership with ESPN and the Sun Belt Conference, as well as weekly installments of original programming on Cox Sports Television (CST). The ongoing plan, to build and spread the Louisiana brand across the country, has been the task of Assistant Director of Athletics for Broadcast Services Kevon Wilson.
"Building something from the ground up was the biggest draw that got me to the University of Louisiana," Wilson said. "It was an opportunity to take something from scratch and mold it, first with the support of our athletics department staff that is already in place, as well as recruiting a student staff that can help us achieve the vision we have for this department."
Already through 25 television broadcasts for football and basketball across both the ESPN platform and nationally on CST, Wilson's broadcast team will also handle 12 primetime broadcasts during Louisiana's upcoming baseball and softball seasons. For CST, Louisiana produces weekly 30-minute "coaches show" programs highlighting the school's football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball programs.
Wilson's career background lends itself well to managing Louisiana's busy broadcast schedule, with his previous stops including three television stations and two universities. Prior to arriving in Lafayette, Wilson worked stints at Stetson University (2014-15) as broadcasting director and at Florida Atlantic University (2003-07) as station manager.
"Game One and Broadcast One for our department was the Louisiana Football season opener against Grambling," Wilson said. "There was a strong group of students already onboard, along with some freelancers. When we had that first meeting to go over the broadcast, and I was able to see the hunger in everyone's eyes, it was definitely a special moment for me in this process, so far."
Wilson's team includes Director of Broadcast Operations Jeff Schneider, who spent the previous seven seasons working within the Ragin' Cajuns' athletics communications office. The duo have cultivated a team of University students and local freelancers to deliver professional broadcasts, using the importance of teaching as a guiding factor.
"With the student workforce we've already recruited, the future is very bright for Louisiana Broadcast Productions," Wilson said. "It's an all-hands-on-deck mentality we take. Our students are excited and energized every game to come put on a great show."
Beyond the television screen and streaming devices, Louisiana fans have undoubtedly seen new video content arrive on social media. Feature videos to highlight the specific successes and background stories of Louisiana student-athletes and coaches have been a focus, as well as podcasts going in-depth with the many coaches and leaders of the Ragin' Cajuns.
Included in Louisiana's energized digital approach is Director of Digital Content Doug Domingue, who creates dynamic video and graphic elements for the Ragin' Cajuns' web and social media channels, as well as in broadcasts and in-venue on videoboards. His storytelling ability has been showcased in the weekly installments of the #cULture, an episodic take on the first season of the Billy Napier Era with Louisiana Football.
Assisting with Inside Louisiana Football, the weekly CST coaches program, was longtime football video coordinator Darren Walker. Recently promoted to Assistant Director of Athletics for Video Operations, Walker hosted the football-based program and will also lend his broadcasting and camera skills to similar CST programs for Louisiana's baseball and softball programs.
The cinematic approach of the #cULture episodes was just one way Louisiana helped fans connect with the Ragin' Cajuns. The familiar voices heard throughout Louisiana's ESPN and CST broadcasts have been a welcomed addition, with former Ragin' Cajuns sports information director turned broadcaster Dan McDonald helming play-by-play duties across all broadcasts. McDonald paired with football alum (1984) and former coaching staff member (1984-98, 2008-11) Gerald Broussard for Louisiana Football television broadcasts, and has worked alongside former hoopers Eric Mouton (1992) and Lawana Stokes (1983) on broadcasts from the Cajundome. Additionally, 2016 University graduate Krista Toussant has served as host of the group's Inside Louisiana Basketball programs on CST.
"I felt it was important for pioneers and champions of our University to be a part of this incredible video movement we were undertaking," Wilson said. "These ambassadors are part of that Ragin' Cajuns foundation that exists in this community, which I've also been blessed to join. There isn't anything more gratifying than building this alongside all members of the Ragin' Cajuns family."
Stay tuned for much more from Louisiana Broadcast Operations in the spring months, as the Ragin' Cajuns' baseball and softball schedules begin at both Russo Park and Lamson Park.